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Something is wrong in our society. Deeply wrong. The belief that all lives matter is at the heart of our founding documents--but we must admit that this conviction has never truly reflected reality in America. Movements such as Black Lives Matter have arisen in response to recent displays of violence and mistreatment, and some of us defensively answer back, "All lives matter." But do they? Really? This book is an exploration of that question. It delves into history and current events, into Christian teaching and personal stories, in order to start a conversation about the way forward. Its raw but hopeful words will help move us from apathy to empathy and from empathy to action. We cannot do everything. But we can each do something.
Spent Matches explores the possibility that a few small paradigm shifts within the church might make the difference between extinction and effectiveness. In fact, taking a clue from the automobile industry, the church might be able to not only halt the rapid decay in attendance but also become an effective tool in achieving Jesus' final command. For instance, the Hybrid car has become the answer to Detroit's environmental and oil crisis issues. Finding the synergy between two technologies, gas and electric has created a new day for the auto industry. Likewise, Spent Matchesexplores how the church can find synergy between two seemingly competing thoughts: an invitation to come and a command to go. The Hybrid metaphor brings energy to the church's mission and an explanation to the age-old argument of Missional versus Attractional methods. Features include: * Innovative ideas for growing the church* Methods to reach those who may never have attended church* Scripture passages that touch on the subject of church growth
At some point in the nineteenth century God died, the world grew secular, and Christianity became oppositional, irrational, odd, even queer -- or so the story goes. To explore this narrative, John Schad offers a suitably odd or unreasonable' history of what Michel Foucault once called Christian unreason'. This proves, in part, to be an unlikely, or uncanny history of Christian involvement in such radical movements and developments as Anarchism, Surrealism, the Absurd, deconstruction, and even quantum physics. It also proves to be a dark and guilty history of Christian involvement in such terrible things and events as slavery, forced conversion, Fenian bombs, the Great War, the Holocaust, and even Hiroshima. The book begins with Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach' and its withdrawing sea of faith' as time and again Schad finds the figure of the Christian to be beached, a fish out of water -- a queer fish, in fact. This, then, is a book that is all at sea -- beginning with Charles Darwin's voyage to the extreme point of Christendom' that was South America, and ending with James Joyce and Jacques Derrida in the same boat', the same ruined, but sea-going, boat that is the twentieth-century Western Church. In between: Karl Marx is to be found in 1848 watching the waves of revolution' withdraw in Berlin; Sigmund Freud stands incredulous by the shore of Loch Ness; Oscar Wilde is laughed at in the rain at Clapham Junction; and Charles Dickens visits a church for the drowned, a church for ship-wrecked corpses. Revisiting Dover Beach' is often an appalling event, an event of death; often it is comic or even absurd. Sometimes it is both at once. With chapters devoted to Darwin, Marx, Freud, Dickens, Wilde, Joyce, and Derrida, Queer Fish has plenty for students not only of literature and philosophy but also theology and Jewish studies.
For Heaven's Sake is filled with amazing, even miraculous stories of how God moved in and through John's life and ministry. Read about the incredible ups and devastating downs as he battled through cancer, hepatitis C virus and a liver transplant. Discover the price he paid whilst pioneering rehabilitation centres and the victories God wrought in the lives of many people.John says " I pray that you too can learn to overcome all that life throws at you. Sometimes life is not fair, other times we feel that we just can't go on...But, with God, the right attitude and with His strength we can do anything'
The Bible tells us Jesus is for every tribe, language, people and nation - so why are all the saints in our stained-glass windows white? An oppressive bias has taken hold of the storytelling of the Church. Many are surprised to discover that St. Augustine was from present day Algeria, and even that most British of saints, George, was an immigrant with a Turkish father and a Palestinian mother. Every Tribe celebrates the true diversity of the saints, inspiring the church to become what it is meant to be: the rainbow people of God serving the diverse needs of a diverse world.
The church welcomes allaor it should. The church has long proven itself a safe refuge despite the sad reality that it can be, and has been, unwelcoming toward those perceived as different. This is especially true of the contemporary church's response to those with disabilitiesaa response often at surprising variance with its historic practices of care. The church once helped shape western morality to cherish these individuals with love and acceptance. It is thus ironic when today's church neglects this care, or practices care with no awareness of the rich theological history out of which such moral sensibilities originally emerged. In Wondrously Wounded , Brian Brock reclaims the church's historic theology of disability and extends it to demonstrate that people with disabilities, like all created in God's image, are servants of God's redemptive work. Brock divides his volume into five parts. Partone chronicles how early Christianity valued and cared for those with disabilities, putting into practice Jesus' teachings about divine mercy in decidedly countercultural ways. Parttwo details how a rise in the fear of disability tempted the church away from these merciful practices as well as its confession of the infinite worth of all God has created. Partthree traces how the fear of difference continues to negatively shape contemporary practices in today's schools, churches, and politics. Partfour lays the foundations of a vision of Christian life that is resistant to this pervasive fear. Finally, Partfive shows how the recognition of all people as part of the body of Christ not only demonstrates the love of Christ but displaces the fear of disability in a manner that invites the church beyond even the most ambitious contemporary hopes for full inclusion. Brock interweaves his historical and theological analysis with the narrative of his own disabled son, Adam. These stories vividly bring into view the vulnerability, as well as the power, of the disabled in contemporary society. Ultimately, Brock argues, those with disabilities are conduits of spiritual gifts that the church desperately needs. Wondrously Wounded is an appeal to the church to find itself broken and remade by the presence of Christ on offer in the lives of those society has labeled "disabled."
Reclaiming an Evangelical History of Activism In recent years, there has been renewed interest by evangelicals in the topic of biblical social justice. Younger evangelicals and millennials, in particular, have shown increased concern for social issues. But this is not a recent development. Following World War II, a new movement of American evangelicals emerged who gradually increased their efforts on behalf of justice. This work explains the important historical context for evangelical reengagement with social justice issues. The authors provide an overview of post-World War II evangelical social justice and compassion ministries, introducing key figures and seminal organizations that propelled the rediscovery of biblical justice. They explore historical and theological lessons learned and offer a way forward for contemporary Christians.
From the heart of Bethlehem, from the heart of occupied land, comes a theology to shake the world--a theology of hope, peace and justice. Legendary singer-songwriter Garth Hewitt has traveled the globe, hearing the echoes of God on the margins of society and in the cracks of the world's empires. Along with his justice-seeking organization the Amos Trust, he has seen the plight of the street children of South Africa, the Dalit community in India, the underprivileged in Nicaragua and Palestinians in the heart of international conflict in the Holy Land. Here he collects those echoes into a unified voice, calling for the Prince of Peace to reign from Bethlehem to the ends of the earth. Laying out a "Bethlehem theology" for justice and reconciliation that emerges out of the story of Jesus' prophesied birth, Occupied Territories demonstrates itself in action in the present. Recounting stories from a network of community projects around the world, Hewitt raises awareness of and provides support for those working toward liberation, addressing the root causes of injustice and poverty. A lifestyle of justice is an integral part of the Bible message, as Christians seek to stand up to skewed power systems, racial tensions and our own biases. As Christ-followers in the Kingdom of God, we are to stand with confidence on issues of human rights and justice--we are people of hope because there is a gospel of hope. Let us model what a community of justice may look like as we face the forces of domination with the light and lifestyle of this gospel.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9 If you're working to make the world a better place, you might find yourself discouraged. Needs are overwhelming, resources are limited, opposition is real and progress is slow. How do we persevere when the novelty wears off and our enthusiasm runs out? We all want change in the world. But as C. S. Lewis put it, we don't get second things by placing them first; we get second things by keeping first things first. As Christians, we don't just aim at change; we aim at faithfulness, and out of faithfulness comes fruitfulness. Activist Ben Lowe renews our mission with key postures and practices for sustaining faithful social action. What makes social action distinctively Christian includes such things as living out Jesus? love, having a prophetic witness, building bridges with opponents, repudiating idolatries, and practicing repentance and sabbath. Moving beyond theory, Lowe showcases practical examples of what it looks like to persevere in faithful activism and advocacy today. Take heart. As you work for God, God is at work in you to keep your hope alive.
2009 Christianity Today Book Award winner Named one of Publishers Weekly's best books of 2008 (religion category) It is not enough to condemn culture. Nor is it sufficient merely to critique culture or to copy culture. Most of the time, we just consume culture. But the only way to change culture is to create culture. Andy Crouch unleashes a stirring manifesto calling Christians to be culture makers. For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided "culture wars." But we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators that God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in creating cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us. By making chairs and omelets, languages and laws, we participate in the good work of culture making. Crouch unpacks the complexities of how culture works and gives us tools for cultivating and creating culture. He navigates the dynamics of cultural change and probes the role and efficacy of our various cultural gestures and postures. Keen biblical exposition demonstrates that creating culture is central to the whole scriptural narrative, the ministry of Jesus and the call to the church. He guards against naive assumptions about "changing the world," but points us to hopeful examples from church history and contemporary society of how culture is made and shaped. Ultimately, our culture making is done in partnership with God's own making and transforming of culture. A model of his premise, this landmark book is sure to be a rallying cry for a new generation of culturally creative Christians. Discover your calling and join the culture makers.
The political dogma of toleration is little more than a tool of the modern state in its drive for power and wealth. In "The Long Truce," A. J. Conyers shows that by banishing questions of ultimate meaning from public life, the modern version of toleration has debased our politics and undermined social cohesion. He argues provocatively for a return to the authentic toleration found in pre-Reformation Christianity.
Pilgrim is a major new teaching and discipleship resource from the Church of England. It will help enquirers and new Christians explore what it means to travel through life with Jesus Christ. A Christian course for the twenty-first century, Pilgrim offers an approach of participation, not persuasion. Enquirers are encouraged to practice the ancient disciplines of biblical reflection and prayer, exploring key texts that have helped people since the earliest days of the Christian faith. Believing that the Christian faith is primarily about relationship, Pilgrim aims to lay a foundation for a lifetime of learning more about God's love revealed in Jesus Christ and what it means to be his disciple. Assuming little or no knowledge of the Christian faith, Pilgrim can be used at any point on the journey of discipleship and by every tradition in the Church of England. Pilgrim is made up of two parts: Follow and Grow. Each consists of four short courses and a leaders' guide. Follow introduces the Christian faith for complete beginners, while Grow aims to develop a deeper level of discipleship in those who have turned to Christ. Each short course contains six-sessions, supported by online audio-visual resources. All sessions combine a simple framework prayer, reflection on the Bible in the lectio divina style, an article by a modern writer, and time for questions and reflection. The first book in the Follow Stage, Turning to Christ, explores the questions candidates are asked when they decide to become followers of Jesus.
The American way of life pushes people to constantly strive for
more--more money, more stuff, more clout. But how much is enough?
And how do we know when we have too much of a good thing? In this
provocative, paradigm-shifting book, Will Davis Jr. challenges
readers to discover the peace that comes through contentment with
what we have and compassion for those in need. Through surprising
statistics, scriptural insight, and real-life stories, Davis gently
leads readers to consider living with less in order to do more for
the kingdom. Thought-provoking discussion questions and short
chapters make this a perfect study for small groups.
Younger Christians are leaving the church in droves, frustrated and disillusioned by the track record of American Christianity. Older Christians, who still lead most churches, are concerned about this trend. But the generations don't see eye to eye on many things. Here two evangelical leaders forty years apart in age discuss some of the biggest issues challenging Christianity today and into the future, such as marriage, homosexuality, creation care, and politics. The authors model and cultivate an intentional, charitable, and much-needed intergenerational dialogue. Each chapter includes sidebar reflections from notable Christian leaders and individual and small group study questions.
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